The perseverance we find in hope, steadied by peace, gives us the ability to hold tightly to joy.
Beethoven composed his 9th symphony with a choral finale and vocalists (something no major composer had done before him) that is arguably one of the greatest symphonies ever composed and he heard none of it.
Over the course of composing the symphony, his hearing was in steady decline. And by the time the symphony had its remarkable debut, he was almost completely deaf.
I imagine the irony of composing his greatest masterpiece and never hearing a note with his own ears was not lost on him.
Ever since learning this about Beethoven, I have been fascinated at what his process must have been and also so impressed at his genius to compose despite the challenge in losing his hearing.
Ode To Joy was composed in one of the darkest times personally for Beethoven and the world politically in that era. I love the powerful contrast of a piece of music that does bring a happy and triumphant feeling and yet its composer only heard the notes in his head.
True joy goes beyond a feeling or a fleeting happy moment. Joy seems to be a song we memorize is some of the darkest of times and it wraps around our heart to gives us strength. True joy is present in the good, the bad, and the in between.
“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” Henry Nouwen
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him. Psalm 28:7
God, thank you for filling us with your joy and flooding our hearts with light. May we hold tightly to joy in the good times and the hard times and may our lives shine bright this advent season.